London researchers awarded $14.2 million from CIHR to tackle health issues

Researchers at Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute have been awarded operating grants worth nearly $14.2 million in the latest competition from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  Combined Western and Lawson had 20 projects approved, including one of only six large (over one million dollars) grants handed out in Canada.

Dr. Anthony Tang, a Lawson scientist and professor in the Department of Medicine at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry will receive nearly $3.3 million over five years for a study on heart failure called “Resynchronization/defibrillation for Ambulatory Heart Failure Trial in patients with Permanent AF (RAFT-PermAF).”

“Heart failure is the most common reason for hospital admissions of patients over the age of 65.  Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) has been demonstrated to improve symptoms, and reduce hospitalization and deaths in patients whose heart failure involves sinus rhythm, an enlarged heart or abnormal sequence of contractions,” says Dr. Tang, who holds a CIHR Chair in arrhythmia management in heart failure.

“However, over one quarter of heart failure patients have an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. It is unknown whether CRT will benefit these patients.  This research is a multi-centre international study to determine if CRT will reduce hospitalization and mortality in these patients.” CRT uses a specialized pacemaker to re-coordinate the actions of the right and left ventricles, increasing the heart’s efficiency.

Of the more than 25-hundred grant applications submitted across the country, 479 received CIHR funding for up to five years.  Some of the projects funded at Western and Lawson include:
• Daniel Ansari -development of the numerate brain
• Arthur Brown –spinal cord injury
• Ian Cunningham –reducing x-ray exposure to patients
• Shun-Cheng Li –Legionnaires’ disease
• Grace Parraga –Asthma and imaging
• Patricia Tucker –supporting physical activity in childcare

For more on the grants click here, and for a complete listing of grant recipients, click here.

Media contacts: Kathy Wallis, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, 519-661-2111 ext. 81136,

Julia Capaldi, Communications Consultant, Lawson Health Research Institute, 519-646-6100 ext.75616,